Saturday, January 24, 2015

Unbe-klay-vable! (apologies, klay-verest pun I could think of)

Exactly nine years and two days ago, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a game.
Yesterday, Klay Thompson had a historical feat of his own: 52 points, which in itself is not jaw-dropping, but the way he recorded it was, thanks to 37 points in the third quarter alone (9/9 from 3-point land and 4/4 for 2-pointers).

If there ever was a definition of a player being hot, we witnessed it yesterday! Tracy McGrady did score 13 points in 35 seconds, but what Klay did is on another level.

But for the sake of some fun stat: What was the probability of Klay putting on this insane shooting display?

For the 2014-2015, Klay started the third quarter having attempted 272 3-pointers and made 120 (44.1%). He had also attempted 386 2-pointers and converted 188 of them (48.7%).

Assuming all his third quarter shots are independent of each other (very reasonable assumption, the only thing that could invalidate it is if there was such a thing as a "catching fire" effect), then the probability of Klay scoring a perfect 9-of-9 3-pointers and 4-of-4 2-pointers is 0.441^9 * 0.487^4 = 3.6e-5! Or 1 in almost 30,000. Basically, you would expect such a performance once every 342 seasons! Or Klay would have a higher probability of getting struck by lighting once in his life.

One question that this mind-boggling performance also raises is whether it has cemented Klay Thompson to be as inconsistent as ever? I am sure Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman will have some thoughts about this.

Even if you've seen the highlights countless times already, never hurts to review this once-in-342-seasons performance:

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